Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

City Administrator Ed Henschel contradicts Mayor Jeff Scrima on health clinic

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Waukesha’s city administrator Ed Henschel sent a memo to city employees that contradicts what Mayor Jeff Scrima has been saying about the proposed joint venture health clinic. The clinic would service city, county, and school district employees, and HealthStat was the company who would run it after a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

The most relevant part of the memo:

Q.         The Mayor’s email indicated that the employees over time will be required to only use this  County government clinic for initial examinations and particular health services.  Is this the City’s intent?

A.  The short answer is no.   However, let me first reinforce this is not the County’s clinic.  What is being proposed is a partnership with the City, School District and County.  An intergovernmental agreement is being developed which specifies that the clinic oversight will be done by all of the organizations together.

From the very beginning we have been clear that employees and their families will not be required to use the clinic.  The clinic will be an alternative or option for you and your family.  It has been very clear in the feasibility study, in the request for proposal process and at the presentations to the Council, and in prior communications to employees that the clinic is an option not a requirement.

Scrima’s preferred alternative, ProHealth Care (a GuitarTown contributor), finished last in the RFP process. The ProHealth Care proposal would have actually cost taxpayers $2 million. Now they are attempting to end-run the RFP process through the city of Waukesha Common Council with Mayor Jeff Scrima acting as their point person.

I have posted the “Health Clinic FAQ to Employees” document online, I have made it available for download, and the content of the memo is below:

 

To:                  City of Waukesha Employees

CC:                 Mayor & City Council

From:              City Administrator

Subject:          Proposed Shared On-Site Health Clinic

Date:               March 11, 2014

On March, 6th, 2014 you received an email from Mayor Scrima regarding the shared on-site medical clinic between the City, School District and County.  In his memo the Mayor indicated I would be answering your questions about the clinic and its impact on our City employees.  Let me attempt to anticipate some of your questions.

Q. Who is developing the clinic and what involvement have the City had in the study, design and development of what is being proposed?

A. The concept of a shared on-site medical clinic between the City, School District and the County began in 2012.  We agreed to partner with the School District and the County in an evaluation process which consisted of a feasibility study and a formal request for proposal process to select a clinic provider.   The City, School District and County have a shared goal of providing quality health care services for our employees and dependents and also looking for ways to reduce health care costs, both for employees and the City.

The City has been involved and participated in every stage of the process beginning with the selection of the consultant, conducting the feasibility study, creating the RFP for vendor selection, evaluating the proposals, interviews of bidders, site visits, and making the final recommendation on which organization to select to manage the clinic.

While this is joint initiative and overall will be managed jointly, how the clinic integrates with our health plan and specific programs that may be important to the City, will be the City’s decision.

Q.         The Mayor’s email indicated that the employees over time will be required to only use this  County government clinic for initial examinations and particular health services.  Is this the City’s intent?

A. The short answer is no.   However, let me first reinforce this is not the County’s clinic.  What is being proposed is a partnership with the City, School District and County.  An intergovernmental agreement is being developed which specifies that the clinic oversight will be done by all of the organizations together.

From the very beginning we have been clear that employees and their families will not be required to use the clinic.  The clinic will be an alternative or option for you and your family.  It has been very clear in the feasibility study, in the request for proposal process and at the presentations to the Council, and in prior communications to employees that the clinic is an option not a requirement.

Q.         Can I continue to see my own doctor?   Can I use both the clinic and see my own doctor?

A.         The answer to both is yes.  Many employees and their family members have strong relationships with physicians in the community and we expect those to continue.  We also know that we have employees who do not have primary care physicians.   If you are one of those employees the doctor and staff at the clinic can serve that role for you.  They can treat your common illnesses, and can refer you to specialists within our network if needed.

You have the option to use the clinic for none, all, or some of your medical services.   In some situations it may be more convenient or less expensive for you to use the clinic.  It is your decision.

Q.         In the past we had to participate in an annual biometric blood test and health risk assessment.  Our participation determined what we paid toward our health insurance premium.  Does this change at all once the clinic is opened?

A. Our plan will continue the biometric and health risk assessment process and to tie employee contributions to health insurance as we have done in the past.  We would anticipate that the clinic provider will conduct the biometric testing and employees will fill out the health risk assessment and review the results with someone from the clinic in a process nearly identical to what has been done in the past.

Q.         Where will the clinic be located?

A.         The clinic will be located in the building that previously was used as the County Public Health Center.  Recently, the Public Health division moved into the new County Health and Human Services building.   This is free standing building with a separate parking lot and entrance from other County buildings.  The building is located west of the County Courthouse on Moreland Blvd.

Q.         What hours will the clinic be open?  Will it be convenient to use?

A.         At this time it is being proposed that the clinic be open Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday from  7:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm.    The clinic hours will be adjusted based on the utilization.  We have the ability to adjust the hours and have it staffed during the times when it is used the most.

Q.         Who will be staffing the clinic, what type of medical providers will employees be able to see?

A.         The plan is for the clinic to be staffed with a Physician, 2- Physician Assistants, an RN,  2 Medical Assistants and 2.5 Receptionists.   In the second year the plan is to add a Physical Therapist and a Care Coordinator.

Q.         Will I be charged to use the clinic, if so do you know how much?

A.         City employees and their families will be asked to pay modest co-pay when using the clinic. Final fees have not been determined, but we anticipate that the fee will be zero to $5.00.  In addition if you use the pharmacy at the clinic you  will be asked to pay modest co-pay for prescriptions as well.   The co-pays that you are charged will accumulate and apply toward satisfying your deductible under the health  insurance plan.

Q.         You mentioned a pharmacy, how will that work for us?

A.         If an employee or family member is in need of a medication, the clinic may be used to fill some of your       prescriptions.   The pharmacy at the clinic will stock pre-packaged medications based on a review of the most common, non-narcotic medications our employees and families use.   Examples might be antibiotics and cholesterol medications.  Not all medications will be available at the clinic.

Q.         Who from the City will be eligible to use the on-site medical clinic?

A.         Employees, spouses and dependents over the age of 2 who are enrolled in the City’s health plan.  Retirees who are in the City health plan are also eligible.

Q.         It has been reported that the clinic will be managed by a company called Healthstat, who are they?

A.         Healthstat was chosen following an extensive and thorough review process.  As I indicated earlier, the City participated in every phase of the selection process.  The joint City, School District and County evaluation committee are recommending that Healthstat operate the clinic.

Healthstat is a leading health and wellness organization headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They operate over 350 on-site medical clinics across the country.   They operate clinics that provide care and services to employees in the public, private, education and non-profit sectors.   In Wisconsin Healthstat provides on-site clinic services to the City of Kenosha and the West Bend School District.

Q.         It is being reported that this clinic will save the City $1.1 million over a 5 year period.  Will employees benefit from this savings?

A.         By controlling healthcare costs, annual health premiums are controlled which will lead to maintaining or reducing health premiums to employees.  It could also free up money that can be used to support other employee benefits.

Q.         What is the City’s process to approve participation in the joint shared clinic?

A.         The Common Council will need to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the County and School District and the contract for the provision of services by Healthstat.

I hope this answers some of your questions.  If you have others, please feel free to contact HR Manager Donna Whalen or I.  My goal remains providing excellent healthcare services as the lowest possible cost for the benefit of everyone in the City of Waukesha.

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